Neural Basis of Spatial Memory Deficits after Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
Project Principal Investigator/s:
Aaron Wilber (Florida State University)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
1,586,632 -over five years
Period of Performance:
02/2022 - 01/2027
Goals and Aims of StudyFetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are a set of major morphological, neurobiological, and cognitive abnormalities in offspring exposed to alcohol in utero. A common cognitive manifestation of alcohol exposure during neural development in humans, and in animal models of prenatal alcohol exposure, are deficits in spatial learning and memory. In moderate PAE (BECs ~60-80mg/dl), spatial deficits are marked by an inability to accurately discriminate between spatial locations or retain previously learned spatial relationships. Such deficits may ultimately reflect alterations in the neural systems and circuits involved in encoding and retaining learned spatial information. The long-term goal of our research program is to identify the neurobiological mechanisms of spatial learning and memory impairments after moderate prenatal alcohol exposure.
How this Research Will Benefit SocietyFetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are a set of major morphological, neurobiological, and cognitive abnormalities in offspring exposed to alcohol in utero. Deficits in spatial learning and memory are one of the most common cognitive abnormalities reported in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Further investigation of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying spatial learning and memory impairments is critically important for the development of precise diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions to help manage or reverse disordered brain states.